73. National Security Study Memorandum 661


  • The Secretary of State
  • The Secretary of Defense
  • The Secretary of Treasury
  • Director, Central Intelligence


  • Policy Toward the Persian Gulf

The President has directed a study of U.S. policy in the Persian Gulf which would include the following:

Discussion of the problems created by withdrawal from the Gulf of the British presence in its present form, including the possibility of an Arab-Iranian confrontation in the region.
Discussion of our choices in setting a general U.S. posture toward the various political entities in the Gulf area—our political relationships, diplomatic representation, arms aid policy.
Description of the specific decision to be made regarding continued U.S. naval activity in the region after the British withdrawal and a discussion of the merits of each of the significant courses of action open to us.

The President has directed that this study be prepared by the NSC Interdepartmental Group for Near East and South Asia and be forwarded to the NSC Review Group by September 30.

Henry A. Kissinger
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 365, Subject Files, National Security Study Memoranda (NSSM’s), NSSMs No. 43–103. Secret. A copy was sent to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In an undated covering memorandum to Nixon, Kissinger wrote that the Persian Gulf “will become increasingly difficult to cope with over the next two years,” and the British departure would require both difficult readjustments of local relationships and a clearer definition of the U.S. role in the area. (Ibid., NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–156, National Security Study Memoranda, NSSM 66)